Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation Review 2020

Good for: borrowers who want access to a wide variety of mortgages and the convenience of a comprehensive mobile application process.

NerdWalletAugust 17, 2020

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Our Take

4.0

NerdWallet rating 

The bottom line: Fairway has lots of loans and a snazzy mobile app, but comparing mortgage rates requires supplying personal information.

Best Mortgage Lender for FHA Loans

Fairway Independent Mortgage

at Fairway

Min. Credit Score

620

Conventional:

620

FHA:

640

VA:

640

USDA:

640

Min. Down Payment

3%

Loan Types and Products

Purchase, Refinance, Home Equity, Reverse, Jumbo, Fixed, Adjustable, FHA, VA, USDA

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Offers a robust suite of loan products, including a variety of renovation loans.

  • Has a digital application that can be completed in 10 minutes.

  • Works with some state housing finance agencies to offer mortgages with down payment and closing cost assistance.

Cons

  • Mortgage rates aren't posted online.

Compare to Other Lenders

Min. Credit Score

620

Conventional:

620

FHA:

640

VA:

640

USDA:

640

Min. Credit Score

620

Conventional:

620

FHA:

580

VA:

620

USDA:

620

Min. Credit Score

640

Conventional:

640

FHA:

640

VA:

640

USDA:

640

Min. Down Payment

3%

Min. Down Payment

3%

Min. Down Payment

3%

Loan Types and Products

Purchase, Refinance, Home Equity, Reverse, Jumbo, Fixed, Adjustable, FHA, VA, USDA

Loan Types and Products

Purchase, Refinance, Jumbo, Fixed, Adjustable, FHA, VA, USDA

Loan Types and Products

Purchase, Refinance, Home Equity, Jumbo, Fixed, Adjustable, FHA, VA, USDA

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Full Review

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, getting a mortgage may be a bit of a challenge. Lenders are dealing with high loan demand and staffing issues that may slow down the process. Also, some lenders have increased their fees or temporarily suspended certain loan products. If you can’t pay your current home loan, refer to our mortgage assistance resource. For the latest information on how to cope with financial stress during this pandemic, see NerdWallet’s financial guide to COVID-19.

Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation at a glance

Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation offers borrowers a robust suite of loan products and customer service touch points to simplify the mortgage lending process.

From the usual stable of fixed-rate conventional loans and adjustable-rate mortgages to FHA, USDA, VA, renovation, reverse mortgages and jumbo loans, Fairway has something for nearly every type of borrower. Founded in 1996, Fairway has grown into a national independent brokerage network with over 7,000 employees — including more than 3,000 loan officers — in over 700 locations. It is headquartered in Madison, Wisconsin, and Carrollton, Texas.

Here's a breakdown of Fairway's overall score:

  • Variety of loan types: 5 of 5 stars

  • Variety of loan products: 5 of 5 stars

  • Online convenience: 5 of 5 stars

  • Rates and fees: 3 of 5 stars

  • Rate transparency: 1 of 5 stars

Fairway mortgage loan types and products

If you’re looking for a fixed-rate loan, Fairway has several term options: 10, 15, 20, 25 or 30 years, depending on the loan type. Likewise, if you want an adjustable-rate mortgage, Fairway offers those, too, including 5/1, 5/5, 7/1, 10/1 and 15/1.

The lender offers conforming and jumbo conventional mortgages as well as government-backed home loans. In fact, Fairway was among the top 10 lenders by loan volume for FHA, USDA and VA mortgages, according to 2019 Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data.

Fairway works with some state housing finance agencies to offer mortgages with down payment and closing cost assistance aimed at first-time home buyers. And it considers nontraditional credit to qualify borrowers for certain loans.

Renovation loans are also on the menu, including HomeStyle, Choice Renovation, jumbo, FHA and VA renovation mortgages. Fairway says it also offers home equity lines of credit.

Fairway mortgage online convenience

Fairway provides a variety of ways to apply. You can:

  • Use the FairwayNOW mobile app. Introduced in 2017, the app sets Fairway apart from many other lenders. With the app, borrowers can apply for a loan in under 10 minutes, securely scan and upload financial documents, find a local loan officer, calculate monthly mortgage payments and connect to home searching sites.

  • Apply through the Fairway website. Fairway’s eight-step online application process is on par with that of other major mortgage lenders.

  • Call or visit a branch for face-to-face service. The website features a map to find branches near you. You can refine your search to find a branch that provides particular services; you can also view profiles of loan officers and email them directly.

In 2018, Fairway introduced a digital closing process, which allows buyers and sellers to preview and approve documents electronically before settlement. The company says the technology streamlines the closing process. Borrowers have a chance to review everything on their own time so they know what they’re signing, and the final closing can be completed in 15 minutes or less.

If Fairway customers have problems or questions, they can contact the company through their loan officer, the mobile app, a customer service call center or an email form on the website. Customers can also check loan status and view messages from loan officers through a 24/7 online loan administration portal.

Fairway mortgage rates and fees

One of the most important considerations when choosing a mortgage lender is understanding what the loan will cost. In order to provide consumers with a general sense of what a lender might charge, NerdWallet scores lenders on two factors regarding fees and mortgage rates:

  • A lender's average origination fee compared with the median of all lenders reporting under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act. Fairway earns 3 out of 5 stars on this factor.

  • A lender's offered mortgage rates compared with the best available on comparable loans. Fairway earns 3 out of 5 stars on this factor.

Borrowers should consider the balance between lender fees and mortgage rates. While it's not always the case, paying upfront fees can lower your mortgage interest rate. Some lenders will charge higher upfront fees to lower their advertised interest rate and make it more attractive. Some lenders just charge higher upfront fees.

You can decide to buy discount points — a fee paid with your closing costs — to reduce your mortgage rate.

Deciding whether you want to pay higher upfront fees is a matter of considering how long you plan to live in your home and how much cash you have to apply toward closing costs when you sign the loan paperwork.

Fairway mortgage rate transparency

Borrowers wanting to compare Fairway's mortgage rates with other lenders will need to contact a Fairway loan officer or begin an application online. Fairway doesn't publish mortgage rates on its website.

More from NerdWallet

NerdWallet’s star ratings for mortgage lenders are awarded based on our evaluation of the products and services each lender offers to consumers who are actively shopping for the best mortgage. The five key areas we evaluated include the variety of loan types and products offered, online conveniences, online mortgage rate information, and the rate spread and origination fee lenders reported in the latest available Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data. To ensure consistency, our ratings are reviewed by multiple people on the NerdWallet Mortgages team.